Mike Hardway; the man, the myth, the legend. While some may know him better than others (party people), students know him as one of the many faces of our incredible campus security team.
“I had a pretty bad injury this past semester where I was on crutches. Mike was a huge help to me, getting what I needed from my room, helping me across campus, etc. He talks to you like your friend,” said Zach Litchman ‘20, a communication major from Boston.
While Hardway might seem like just another face of Denison’s task force, he is an unsung hero of this campus. Some may know him from his rides with Sal during the day or patrolling the sunnies at night, there is more to Hardway that meets the eye.
Hardway grew up in Tucson, Arizona until the moved to Hebron, Ohio at the age of seventeen. He studied Emergency Medical Services (EMS) at the Ohio State University where he eventually found a passion for forensics. After graduating, Mike followed the forensics path to become a death investigator for Licking County.
One might wonder, “How does one transition from a forensics specialist and investigator to the wild weekends on the Hill?” Sitting back in his chair, Hardway reflected, “Before I became an employee here at Denison I was an Operation Manager for Courtesy Ambulance that was contracted to provide medical services for students. I worked for Courtesy for about five years until I was contacted and welcomed to Denison by Student Development. Afterwards, I was officially brought on and I work out of the Campus Safety Office as well as the Whisler Health Center.” While he has left the forensics field, when not patrolling the hill, Hardway still likes to spend his time off working 912 for Genesis Health in Zanesville, Ohio.
While some may find the mixture of their “weekend activities” and campus security daunting, Hardway is a friendly face that is always looking to help. He never wants anyone to think they can’t go to him because of the badge on his chest and the lights on his car.
Hardway loves his job and one can almost see a smile sneak out from underneath his big, burly mustache when he talks about his life at Denison. “In a way it’s a release from my other job because I enjoy interacting with the students, staff, faculty and others. I think my experience from my other job and working for Denison has given me great insight when looking at people as a whole.”
When asked for two pieces of advice for students, he gave his two set rules. “I have two rules here on campus: First one is never hurt yourself, and the second one is don’t hurt someone else. In my other job I have to see people on their worst days and sometimes it’s the same case here at Denison. That being said it’s okay to have a bad day. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, staff, faculty or anybody because more than likely you’re going to have a bad day. And it’s okay. That’s why we’re here.” He is never here to judge or get you in trouble. Just look for the man with the mustache and you will know you are in the presence of a kind hearted and caring man.
“I’ve seen him help out some of my friends just by being there for them or doing what he can to make sure kids don’t get in more trouble than necessary. He is really here to be your friend and I think that is what people like the most,” said Emily Mason ‘20, a Biochemistry major from Wooster, Ohio.
So, next time you see Hardway or any other campus security officer, stop and give them a quick “hi” or even a “thank you”. Campus security is not an enemy to you but they are here to help us and keep us safe.
They deserve nothing but the utmost respect and gratitude from all of students here on The Hill.